US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said that over the past two years, North Korean hackers have stolen more than $1 billion in crypto assets and fiat currencies to create nuclear weapons.
These statements by Alejandro Mayorkas were made at a plenary meeting of the Committee on Internal Security of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Secretary of State stressed that with these funds, North Korea finances its programs to create weapons of mass destruction. Basically, ransomware viruses attack financial institutions, hospitals, fuel supply systems, power grids and water treatment plants.
According to Mayorkas, in the first half of 2021, incidents with ransomware programs occurred in 14 of the 16 sectors of the US infrastructure of critical importance. The total amount of ransom paid to hackers by the affected organizations amounts to about $590 million. For the whole of 2020, this figure was $416 million.
The minister said that cybercriminals are not asleep in other countries hostile to the United States. In addition to North Korea, he included Russia, the People's Republic of China and Iran in this list. According to Mayorkas, the use of ransomware undermines the public's trust in public and private organizations.